by David Evans
Marianne Vos (Rabobank) and Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink-Leontien.nl) reprised their usual roles at the sharp end of Elite cyclocross in Liéven’s World Cup race. Vos’s dominance is nothing short of astonishing, even to a casual observer it is clear that the limits of her ability have yet to be reached.
The flying Dutchwomen left the field behind early in the race, trading turns to build a comfortable lead over a chase group of Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team), Caroline Mani (France) and Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing). A crash involving both Vos and Van den Brand, born out of Liévin’s morning frost giving way to a greasy layer of dew, proved to be the decisive moment of the race.
As the pair approached the start of Liévin’s steep ascents, Vos lost her back wheel and slammed her right shoulder into the grass. Den Brand, in trying to avoid her compatriot, saw her front wheel slide out after a touch too much brake. Den Brand was soon up, running the hills because her chain had dropped. Vos had fared less well in the crash and tried to ascend the slope as gingerly as possible, obviously favoring her right side.
Vos found herself riding with Helen Wyman, Van den Brand already out of sight, but Vos wasn’t ready to write off the race. After a stunningly short recovery time, she went about reducing Van den Brand’s advantage. In a near virtuoso performance, she attacked every corner and applied her considerable wattage to every inch of the course, her rear wheel occasionally bobbling and chopping across the grass as it struggled for grip.
After overhauling Van den Brand, she carried on with her assault. A visibly dispirited Van den Brand finished an almost unthinkable 48 seconds back. Katie Compton rolled across to complete the podium, and Wyman couldn’t match Caroline Mani in the sprint for fourth.
Complete results below photos.
Photos – Bart Hazen
Elite Women Results:
2012 Lievin World Cup - Elite Women Results
|2||Daphny VAN DEN BRAND||NED||34||40:18:00||160|
|6||Sophie DE BOER||NED||22||41:20:00||100|
|23||Linda VAN RIJEN||NED||24||44:46:00||37|
|30||Kim VAN DE STEENE||BEL||26||47:11:00||30|
|31||Marlène MOREL PETITGIRARD||FRA||24||29|
|35||Nicole DE BIE - LEYTEN||BEL||37||25|
|36||Margriet Helena KLOPPENBURG||DEN||24||24|